Another dumb idea pushed by the Soros-Left because yunno, there's zero chance there'll ever be another Republican president much less a GOP-run Senate:
Lost in the hubbub over President Obama's State of the Union speech was the quiet death of liberal Democratic hopes to "reform" the Senate filibuster. Those hopes officially expired at 10:20 p.m. Tuesday, as lawmakers prepared the leave the Capitol after the president's speech, when the Senate adjourned for the first time this year.
For months, some Democrats had been working on a plan to use a parliamentary maneuver called the "nuclear option" to put an end to minority Republicans' ability to block Democratic initiatives. Under that scenario, on the first day of its session -- and only on the first day -- the Senate would be able to change its rules regarding filibusters with a simple majority vote. Normally, it takes 67 votes to change the Senate's rules, but on the first day, Democrats believed, they could kill the filibuster with just a 51-vote majority.
Of course, the first day the Senate was in session was January 3. Most people would assume that such first-day changes, even if they were possible, would have to be made on that day. But in the Senate, "first day" can be a flexible term. So when the Senate finished business on January 3, Majority Leader Harry Reid did not adjourn the body, which would have meant the end of the day. Instead, Reid declared the Senate in recess, which meant that it remained, in technical Senate terms, in its "first day" until whenever Reid chose to call an adjournment.
Through January 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 -- through all those days the Senate was in recess and therefore still officially in its "first day." That meant liberal Democrats could continue to maneuver and negotiate ways to end the filibuster and, if they could find 51 senators willing to go along with their scheme, take a vote on the Senate's "first day."
Furious negotiations went on behind the scenes. The Democrats' anti-filibuster wing, led by Sen. Tom Udall, tried to muster support for the effort to kill, or at least substantially weaken, the filibuster. Udall wasn't, of course, trying to persuade Republicans to go along; all GOP senators opposed the idea. Rather, Udall and his allies were trying -- and, it turns out, failing -- to convince 51 Democrats to put an end to the filibuster. By Tuesday, it was clear they had failed. After the State of the Union, Reid adjourned the Senate, and the 22-day "first day" was over.
The filibuster was untouched; nothing has been done to it. "Literally nothing," says a Republican Hill source.
That doesn't mean there might not be some changes in other areas in coming weeks and months. "We'll have potential to make some changes on secret holds -- a tweak to secret holds, not eliminate them," the source says. "And we're probably going to do something on nominations, reducing the number of positions that require Senate confirmation. But nothing on cloture motions and filibusters."
Why did Democrats give in? Two reasons. One, they know they might soon need the filibuster themselves -- not in a few years, but in a few months. Republicans now have 47 votes in the Senate. If they can peel away four Democrats on any given piece of legislation -- say, the repeal of a portion of Obamacare -- they could be stopped only by a Democratic filibuster. The Democrats who are now denouncing the filibuster when it's used by Republicans might soon be employing it themselves to fend off GOP challenges to Obamacare and other Obama initiatives.
The second reason is that Democrats saw the folly in changing a hallowed Senate rule with just 51 votes. The 2012 elections are coming up; there are far more vulnerable Senate Democrats than Republicans. Two years from today, Republicans might well control the Senate. If Democrats set a precedent for changing the rules now with just 51 votes, what will happen the next time Republicans are in charge? "What do they do if we take the majority?" asks the Hill aide. "What's to stop us from changing the rules with 51 votes?" The answer is nothing, if Democrats crossed that line first.
So cooler heads prevailed among Democrats, and filibuster "reform" is dead -- for now and for the foreseeable future.